03: Managing Stress & Anxiety
Stress and anxiety can be part and parcel of life and being in business. Today’s episode is an honest account of how we feel stress, how we both have anxiety at times and how we work through it.
There are varying levels of stress, some are just day to day stress, that you can work through and move on, then there is the ongoing prolonged stress that can happen from being in business and when you’re working through a difficult patch.
This is an important topic as being a couple in business together you can’t hide these feelings from each other or leave them at the office door and stress and anxiety can be a huge strain on your relationship, which then can affect home life and how you grow your business together. As soulmates in business you’re connected deeply in body, soul and spirit and you can feel deeply in the other person, so it means working through these feelings together.
Some people thrive on stress and Scott doesn’t mind a bit of stress to get him focused and moving. Sarah, on the other hand, has a threshold and doesn’t thrive on stress. Together we see things differently, which can have benefits in business together. Scott often sees the big picture, whereas Sarah can sweat the small stuff. This can help each other put things in perspective, and Sarah’s eye for the small details often highlights things Scott has missed. Equally, Scott’s bigger picture view helps ground Sarah when she’s overwhelmed with all the ‘to dos’.
We both feel anxiety, and we’ve come to a place of acceptance that this is part of who we are. Often fighting stress can make you feel worse, but there are many things to do, to help manage the stress and anxiety when it does come. We both have learned to create time and space for when these times happen, which we share in this episode. We have both found meditation life changing, but not always the cure. We need to both allow space for our preferred form of self care and Scott loves to do trail running, Sarah loves yoga and we both know that exercise is key. We both love to connect in nature, and we’re lucky to live on the coast and beach walks are always great to calm the nervous system down and connect together. Anywhere in nature can offer that, and we recommend finding that place for you. Eating good food, getting enough sleep, getting support where you need is also important.
For Sarah, anxiety comes on due to her condition, Hashimotos and she feels it more certain times of the month and has learned to give herself space and extra TLC in those times. Scott has his triggers and it’s usually around things like cash flow, website or delivery van issues! The big things that potentially could ‘derail’ the business.
As always in life, we learn through the difficult times, and we had a two year period where we were very disconnected from each other as we didn’t know who to give each other support and space for each others anxiety. We have learned from this and it is always an ongoing journey, but this is what we have learned working through stress and anxiety together.
Learning to communicate differently and not taking on the other person’s anxiety, but able to create compassionate space for them. Avoid going into ‘fix it’ mode, as often an anxious person does not want to hear that! Avoid withdrawing as that only create more division and resentment between you, and we found this debilitating for our marriage. We’re learning that eye contact, connection through touch and hugs works best, this is what we find anyway. Just a hug to say, “I’ve got you and I love you, even when you feel like this”. This is now our strategy that we try and implement in those moments, it takes time to re-learn this, but we have found it the best way to stay connected and communicate better through stress and anxious times.
Learning to give each other space to be in that place and trusting that they can get out of it, and they know what they need. There is a balance of removing yourself from their pain without withdrawing, and that is just holding space for them to just be. We’re often more anxious about the anxiety, and as we’ve discovered, acceptance and openness makes dealing with it a lot less scary.
Understanding the triggers
You will know the triggers and honour that. When you have greater awareness about the triggers, you can put things in place to support you and get help where needed. For example, Christmas can be a trigger time for us as it’s ‘down time’ in the business and so we plan for this in advance and start planning Christmas cash flow funds, which doesn’t always take the anxiety away (from Scott especially) but we know that it’s just a period that we work through and we’ll come out of it.
We have a good wellbeing practices in place, and the top 3 are eating awesomely healthy food, getting quality sleep and meditation. We’re not big drinkers and keep caffeine to a minimum. We exercise regularly, connect in nature as much as possible and do silly things, like pump up the jam 80’s style and boogie in the lounge room. We have tried EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and that has worked for Sarah, not so much for Scott. Counselling is so helpful, and we highly recommend this individually, or together.
Here are some resources to check out:
Ryan Butler (Music)
Wes Butler (Logo & Branding)